Sunday, March 9, 2014

Highway to Hell: Where Childhoods Are Stolen

Highway to Hell: The Road Where Childhoods Are Stolen

Imagine a country where child abuse and forced child prostitution is condoned and encouraged.
Imagine thousands of voiceless girls, trying to grow up into healthy women, but being stymied at every turn because there is another predator waiting to ravage them.

The reality of child sex trafficking exists in every country, but is especially ingrained in the culture of Brazil.
We American's need to read this book for several reasons. First, because when a crime is committed against a child it is not just one country's problem, it is the world's problem.
And second, because this book paints a picture of what can happen to a cultural mindset over time.
There are a hundred lessons to learn from this book, about what can happen when a few brave people stand up for children. We need to heed those lessons now, in America.
If all forms of prostitution and child exploitation are not dealt with rightly here, what could happen? What could America end up allowing? It is a disturbing thought.

The authors of this book are telling the stories of the girls they met and the crime they saw being committed when they journeyed up the BR-116 motorway looking for the truth.

And what they found is horrible to read about, and overwhelming to consider.
When you first realize what is going on, your first response would be tears.
Everywhere they turned, every town they stopped in, had child prostitutes.
We are talking girls as young as ten, some mothers of one or two children of their own at 15.
The authors met grieving parents who had lost daughters to this abyss, and they met grieving parents whose girls were still alive but were so entrenched in prostitution that they couldn't seem to help them.

They met little pre-teens who liked drawing hearts and singing Beiber songs, whose barely pubescent bodies were but up for sale every night along the motorway.

And here is where the greatest tragedy comes in. You would expect that the girls would hate what is done to them, that they would want out, that they would want to be rescued.
But the psychology of abuse combined with the fact that the girls have grown up in a culture where this is so hideously common convince some of them that this abuse is normal, and that they 'like' this work.

Some of the girls are so worn down that they see selling themselves as easy, an easy way to earn money to provide themselves with the things that young girls want.
And some of the girls repeat this pattern over and over because they need the pittance they are paid for the drugs they crave. As the authors explain it, they girls know that they are one filthy encounter away from the fix they need.
It is sickening, and depraved.

And that is why their are no easy answers, because we have to teach their girls foundational lessons about their own worth. We have to give them hope that their is more than a tired, poor life in a village by the motorway. We have to point them to a future, and we have to pour some of that future right into their empty hands. Places like The Pink House are a manifestation of that.
The Pink House, where child prostitutes learn that they are valuable young women, who deserve a healthy life, is one of the best ideas I have ever heard of.
The fact that the answers are not easy doesn't mean that changes can't be made.
There is hope for these girls. It's at the end of a long road, but it is there.

Thank you Kregel for my review copy. 


"We're working to bring hope to girls robbed of their childhoods and their futures." 

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